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image from clipart.com

“I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. There is not any part of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surfaces of the water.” D. H. Lawrence

There is something quite inexplicable about the reaction one has to such a small insect as the mosquito. I know it is responsible for some nasty illnesses, Dengue fever, Ross River fever and others. So to say the sight of one small mosquito can send me into a state almost akin to hysteria, is in itself, almost laughable. Unfortunately it is also true!

You can imagine my horror the other day, when, on looking down at my feet, I saw not one, not two, but a veritable impenetrable cloud of these voracious little monsters all over my feet and lower legs!  TOO LATE!  I stomped, I shook my legs, I swatted, all to no avail. As soon as I dislodged them they attacked once more.

After a very undignified waddle (think of a dog with something on his feet, shaking each paw as he tries, in an ungainly fashion to walk along, and you have an approximate picture of how I must have looked). Hilarious!

Back inside the house I inspected the damage. My feet and legs were already swelling with innumerable  lumps, legacy of these little critters. I itched and I knew scratching was the worst thing I could do. (Impossible to avoid in your sleep!) I headed for my emergency first aid and liberally doused the entire area with lavender essential oil. Phew! As the itch and the urge to scratch slowly dissipated I examined the pictures I had been engrossed in taking which led to my predicament.

image from fineartamerica.com      – OUCH does not come close.

The history first! Last night, just before  a shower of rain and close to dusk I had been looking out my bedroom window to see what the weather might be doing. I thought I saw a lizard disappearing into the garden. I thought it strange since it was cool and miserable, not the sort if weather our resident water dragon enjoyed. He much preferred the sunny edge of our swimming pool.

A few seconds later this tiny, fluffy little ball scooted along the fence line and up to the pool shed, promptly turned and scuttled back. Back and forth he went without pause for five minutes. He was obviously ‘lost’ or ‘ stuck’ in there and couldn’t find his way out. I called to my husband ( just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, especially anything nasty) before we went to see what we could do for the little fellow. However, apart from a quick photo to see what we had found, the heavens opened, the sky turned dark and the corner where he was hiding became totally impenetrable.

Baby Buff Banded Rail at dusk

Baby Buff Banded Rail at dusk

Beating a hasty retreat (undignified and thoroughly vampirised by the mosquitoes), we decided we would have to wait until morning, fully expecting him to find his way out of the garden at the other end where we made sure the gate was open. Once it was light enough to see properly we checked and could see nothing from the house, so down we went. There he was huddled in the angle of the wall where the shed and pump house meet. As soon as he saw us he fluffed his feathery down and began his march to and fro once more.  He had obviously become too disoriented to find his way out.

I headed for the gate to make sure he didn’t go past it and into the far corner (one dead-end for another), whilst my husband played sheep dog and walked towards our  baby banded rail.   Last year we saw one of these little birds avoiding magpies as he ran for shelter under the bridge across our pond. It looks as though he returned and we now have a little family in our back garden. Yippee!

The little fellow was obviously used to seeing us move around since he wasn’t frightened to see us. He trotted along, shepherded by my husband until he neared the gate. I managed to get a few photos (they are quick little birds), and then he hopped through between two posts in the fence and headed for the shrubbery around the pool. He promptly made himself at home ferreting out the insects. After watching for a few minutes we left him alone, sure that he would be soon reunited with mum and dad.

Despite still itching away, but smelling sweetly of lavender,  I’m  thoroughly pleased to see so many of last years visitors back again this year. We have a family of ducks, plus several other pairs, the masked plovers, our mystery birds, who we think may be a Pheasant Coucal (if anyone knows what he is I would love to know), the Purple Swamp Hens, plus our Banded Rails. This doesn’t forget the Crows nesting in the gum tree, Rosella and Sulphur crested cockatoos,Kookaburras and Swallows. The Pee Wees and Magpies are quite at home and one of them loves leaving presents on my bathroom window.  Still, all things considered I feel really privileged that so many have returned this year. I just wish those pesky mosquitoes  didn’t enjoy my blood quite so much!

We  are fortunate to be able to see a small part of our local bird life with so much ease. The rain which has caused so many problems for so many has made our small corner a haven for the birds. Now if only my photography skills were a match for their beauty!

Here is what all the itching and scratching was about – and worth it! Isn’t he beautiful?

Baby Buff banded Rail, safely finding his way back to his parents.

Baby Buff banded Rail, safely finding his way back to his parents.

However, the mosquitoes have had the ‘pint and a half’ so they can visit someone else from now on! Despite “loving all our creatures”, I’m afraid this one gets short shrift from me… days later I’m still itchy and scratchy due to  being very allergic to even these tiny critters. Avoidance is the better part of valor from now on.

image from snailstales.blogspot.com

Here’s the link to my mystery bird.

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“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time”. Sir John Lubbock

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Gold Coast
The Gold Coast as we left.

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“I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently”. Ernest Hemingway

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Today was D Day, D for Departure. We left relatively early so that I could see a Kinesiologist on the Gold Coast.  He had come highly recommended and after all the hassles and procedures on my back and neck it felt like a good way to start our holiday by getting as ‘well’s possible.

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I was skeptical to say the least, after all I’ve tried so many different things and professionals that it takes a lot to get me enthusiastic,  After a half an hour I left in a state of shock and delight.  Shock at what I had heard and delight at how much lighter I already felt.  More about that in another blog. So from that point on it was “On the Road we Go”!

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on the road to port macquarie

Typical roadside view as we came down the highway.

The trip was smooth even with the constant rain. It wasn’t heavy enough to cause a problem, except for a fifteen minute period not far from Port Macquarie where we are staying tonight.  It was wonderful, just the two of us, quiet, talking about the everyday things, nothing stressful or important in the grand scheme of things. They were important in reconnecting us with each other, the quiet times, shared between us, the other crazy drivers on the road, the road works which were extensive, and the Big Banana and finally Port Macquarie in time to catch a few pictures  just before dusk. Remembering of course, that daylight saving has just begun and we have lost an hour.

coffs harbour big banana

The Big Banana as we flew past.

sunset over the hastings river

Sunset over the Hastings River

Port Macquarie beach

Port Macquarie beach…..just the right time to capture this before dinner.

Tomorrow…..Bateman’s Bay,  two days closer to the big birthday party and more photos with the new camera! Family, friends, a special occasion, BEing myself and being with my wonderful husband, a great chauffeur and special talks together! Life is beautiful.

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“From goulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!”    recorded in The Cornish and West Country Litany, 1926.

I’m still in recovery mode from my little medical procedure. As promised it’s not ‘quite’ as painful as before but I wouldn’t like to put a wager on it.  Aside from the fact that the entire neck is bruised from it’s assault by sharp objects and I’m sure you can feel it too.

Last night we decided to have a somewhat early night.  It is a misnomer of the grandest proportions since by the time we’ve checked emails, turned off computer, locked up, turned off lights and finally hit the bathroom for showers it’s not that early any longer. The problems begin with the emails, there is always one, if not more, to discuss or reply to and things snowball from there. The solution, of course, is to turn off the computer before we leave it and not go back to it. Easy!  It is also the penalty of working from home.  There is always the thought that something ‘vitally’ important may arrive late that we ‘must’ be prepared for the next day. I’m working on it!
nose to the grindstone

courtesy of  neesay.wordpress.com

After wobbling my way through the last minute computer turn off and shower (not together thankfully), I was thinking longingly of laying my aching head on my pillow when my husband laughingly reported we had a couple of possums in the nearby tree.  It actually sounded like a meeting place of mating possums. The noise, whilst not overly loud, was constant, and seemed to come from every branch of the tree.  A torchlit search finally found several culprits, doing what possums do, and we left them to their – own devices.

However, there was a small interlude before that happened. I recently received a beautiful burgundy Nikon P150 camera and I was hopeful of getting one of the possums (at rest)  on film so to speak.  Check lighting, check, check exposure, check, check shutter speed, check, you get the idea, it was almost a game of the blind leading the blind.  So, before they could move and I lost any chance of getting their presence immortalized I made a dash for the balcony door.
screen door  funny

courtesy of annacbowling.blogspot.com

That’s right, I walked right into and through the closed screen door, the one my dear husband had so carefully closed behind me after I ran inside to grab that beautiful camera! Being one of the “you beaut” Crimsafe doors I bounced back into the room whilst the door flew outwards at a great rate. OUCH!  Dignity and pride bruised and battered, not to say anything about my aching neck.  I guess that’s what happens when you interrupt nature at work.

brush tail possum

Image of brush tail possum courtesy of whyology.blogspot.com

Fortunately we were able to see the funny side to this.  With a backdrop of ‘hissing’ from the amorous possums Ray managed to get the door back on track, I massaged my bruised nose and toes, and contemplated the advisability of trying to take a photo.

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” Alexander Pope; an essay on criticism in 1709.

Dignity dented but intact, door replaced fully intact, possums still occupied, definitely intact, time to try for a photo.  I remembered to open the offending door this time and we took up position on the balcony.  Here we are twelve feet off the ground, Ray leaning way out over the railing to get some light on ‘the subjects’ whilst I, of much shorter stature than Ray, try to lean precariously over the rail to get the camera somewhere in the vicinity of the possums.

I can report, quite  definitely, that I need more lessons on how to operate my camera. It may not be my deficiencies at all but an impossible ask under the circumstances. Several blank shots plus several orange blurs were all I got for twisting myself, pretzel like over the railing, this after trying to rearrange myself as I torpedoed through a screen door.  It has not been my finest hour!

I am consoling myself with the knowledge that I caught  a beautiful shot of a spoonbill feeding in our pond the other day.  Sometimes you simply have to take your awards where you find them.

spoonbill

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